Alanis Morissette Talks About Rebuilding Her Life to Recover from an Eating Disorder

By May Wilkerson 08/26/15

The iconic singer-songwriter has suffered from mental health issues since childhood.

Alanis Morissette

Since recovering from an eating disorder, Alanis Morissette has completely rebuilt her life in pursuit of a healthier relationship with food and her body, the iconic singer told Women’s Health last week.

Best known for angst-ridden breakup songs like 1995’s infamous “You Oughta Know,” Morissette has struggled with mental health issues since childhood.

"I’ve been so disassociated for most of my life,” she said, “and it’s shown up in various forms like eating disorders and not having boundaries around having sex as a young person and just not being aware of boundaries and having a lot of mine be violated and not considered.”

Building healthy boundaries, said Morissette, has been crucial to her recovery. She has also integrated “mindfulness somatic practices” like meditation into her daily routine, as well as listening to music, reading, and journaling.

Unlike with alcohol or drugs, in eating disorder recovery, the concept of “sobriety” is less black-and-white. “We know with alcohol, you just don’t drink it and don’t go to a bar. With heroin, you just don’t go near it,” she explained. “Whereas with food, you have to eat, so how can one go from, in my case, bingeing and purging, starving, overeating, the scale going up and down—how can I go from that to a 'sober' approach?"

For Morissette, this approach has involved transforming her mindset towards food into something that can provide health and nourishment. She avoids dairy and incorporates lots of greens into her diet. “Food is entirely medicine to me,” she said.

Though now in recovery from her food issues, the singer still struggles with workaholism, and has tried to take more time for herself and to embrace a calmer lifestyle.

"If I told someone I did heroin until four am, there would be this massive intervention. But if I tell someone I was working on a deadline until four am, they’d pat me on the back," she said. "But it can be equally as destructive because stress is the number one killer, right? So I’m really looking into that. It’s sort of my main focus right now."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.